A Time For Counting

Dlr: South ♠ A 10 5 3 2
Vul: E-W 5 3
A 8 4
♣ Q 3 2
♠ K Q J 7 4
A
Q 5 3
♣ A K 10 9
West North East South
1♠
2 3 Pass 4♣
Pass 4 Pass 4NT
Pass 5♠ (1) Pass 6♠
All Pass

(1) Showing two key cards and the trump queen: North knew his side had at least a 10-card fit.

Solution

Declarer could count 10 top tricks, with an 11th to come from ruffing dummy’s second heart. West was the favorite to have the K for his overcall, so it appeared that declarer would have to rely on making four tricks in the club suit to make his contract.

Declarer showed that this was at best a half-truth. He won the first trick with the A, cashed the ♠K and played a low trump to dummy’s 10. Declarer ruffed dummy’s last heart in hand, cashed the ♣K and played the ♣9 to dummy’s queen.

Declarer’s next move was a low club from dummy. When East followed with the 8, declarer covered with the 10. When that held, declarer claimed his contract, making five trumps, a heart, a heart ruff, the A and four clubs.

“That was a rather lucky guess in clubs,” said East.

“Not at all,” replied declarer. “If the ♣10 had lost to the jack, West would have had only red cards left and would have had to lead away from the K or concede a ruff-and-discard by exiting with a heart.

“Also, if West had started with four clubs to the jack, I would have won the third round of clubs with the king and endplayed him with a club.” The declarer concluded his remarks with, “So, as long as West started with the king of diamonds, my plan guaranteed the contract.”

The full deal:

Dlr: South ♠ A 10 5 3 2
Vul: E-W 5 3
A 8 4
♣ Q 3 2
 ♠ 8  ♠ 9 6
 ♥ K Q J 10 7 4  ♥ 9 8 6 2
 K J 6 2  10 9 7
♣ 7 5  ♣ J 8 6 4
♠ K Q J 7 4
A
Q 5 3
♣ A K 10 9

To see past Hands of the Week, click here.